There are two awesome things about this day. One is that it is Friday and two is that it is International Women’s Day! Therefore, it is appropriate to write a blog about women in the security industry. In which I had the pleasure of interviewing two amazing women right from our office!
When many people think of the security industry they think of a male dominated industry. After taking a look around our office at all of the wonderful women that work here, we can say that the times are changing. Men are no longer always the majority when it comes to security and keeping people safe.
Why is it that women aren’t as recognized or frequent in the security industry? Martha Entwistle said it perfectly in Special report: Women in security. “Well, to be fair, the security industry is small compared to other industries, so it’s just not on many peoples’ radars – male or female. For the most part, women who work in the industry today —with the exception of some who come from law enforcement or military backgrounds— didn’t go looking for a job in security. They either just fell into a career in security by chance, or, like many, they were born into the industry: Grandfather started an alarm company and now, the third generation, a granddaughter, is running the show.”
If you don’t know anyone from Bolt Security Guard Services or haven’t browsed our website you may not know that Bolt Security Guard Services has a female owner, Diana Zellers. She took the time to sit down with me so I could ask her a few questions about what it is like to not only be a female in the security industry, but a female owner. Based on what Martha Entwistle said, I wanted to know how Diana got into the security industry and owning her own security company. Diana saw an opening in security which was a fairly new market then. She worked as a guard herself for experience and began researching further requirements to really break into the industry. Diana had been managing people since she was 18 and had a great search and loss prevention background. Soon realizing how much people needed security guard services, she broke away to start her own business doing exactly that, supplying security guards.
Next I wanted to know how Diana handles owning a security company in what is typically known as a male dominated industry, and managing mostly males. “You really have to exceed standards, go above and beyond with professionalism and proficiency, and sometimes be out of the norm or go beyond expectations. Even while trying to get my WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) Certification they had doubts because of the industry I was in”, said Diana.
Lastly, I asked Diana how customers and new employees react to her being a female in this industry. She said that typically they are surprised and don’t even realize that she is the owner. “Clients adapt in a few minutes after understanding I know what I am talking about. With employees, again I just have to be very professional and make them see that I know what I’m doing”, Diana said.
For my second interview I sat down with Meredith La Rue, who is the Vice President of BSN Security. BSN Security is a sister company to Bolt Security Guard Services. They do all things security, literally! Except provide security guards, which is why we are great partners. Again, I wanted to know how Meredith got into the security industry. Was she looking for a job in security, or did she just happen upon the position and then move up from there? “I wasn’t looking for a position in security, I happened upon the position. I originally started out in Customer Service; this is where I started to really learn about the industry. I ended up loving it and continued to learn as much as possible and move my way up from there”, Meredith said.
Going off of the previous question and answer, I asked Meredith if she had to learn the ins and outs of security quickly, or was it more of a gradual process. She said that she learned everything quickly and really enjoyed researching and being able to put together systems based upon customer requests. “The training I had was out in the field; learning the installation, components, programming as well as just making my own mistakes. As my job duties expanded I began to learn more and more about the security industry.”
Now that Meredith is the Vice President of BSN Security, I wanted to know what it is like operating a company in this male dominated industry. Meredith said that it is definitely challenging, “Many times I go on appointments with trainees and I am mistaken for a secretary. You have to go above and beyond to prove yourself through your education or professionalism.” Like Diana, Meredith finds that after a few minutes of interacting with people they can see how knowledgeable she is and take her serious.
My final question for Meredith was if you could give any advice to women either interested or already in the security industry, what would it be. She graciously started with, “Don’t be afraid to learn from your technicians or go out in the field, do it yourself and allow them to teach you. Until you see it live and in action everything is just a concept.” She believes that women should not be intimidated by it being a male dominated industry. She went on to say, “Being a leading female in this industry can be a lot of fun. While it is a male dominated industry, I always find that if you are eager to learn and want the information, they are willing to teach you.”
The bottom line: A new era of security women is amongst us, and we welcome it with open arms! Don‘t be surprised when you speak or work with a knowledgeable female from Bolt Security Guard Services or BSN Security.